Wroclaw has a pretty old town centered around some in the river on the city’s north. The Poland travel app recommends spending some time walking there so that’s what we decide to do today. Like many Polish cities, the old town was largely destroyed during WW2 and photos at key points show before shots for us to compare. The difference is stark. As an Australian, war is something that happens in movies not to real cities. I wonder whether people who are opposed to our country taking in Syrian refugees would feel the same way if they came to places like Poland and stood in the places where photos showed the destruction of war.
For example, this street was totally razed to the ground during the war. Photos show the street as a pile of rubble with metal rods protruding from h the concrete like broken bones. Today the street is gorgeous.
There are many churches and cathedrals on the islands. They are pretty with their red bricks and steep spires. We wander in and out of them admiring the architecture, stain glass windows and pondering about some other things.
There’s a seminary near one of the cathedrals and we watch as young men in black flowing priest dresses (I’m not sure what they call them) walk out of one building and into another. The men are still young. I wonder how many have entered the church out of obligation and how many due to a calling. I had an uncle who wrote a book about his experiences entering the church out of obligation. He subsequently left, married and lived a secular life. Is this what he looked like as a young man? Intelligent, dressed in his uniform and scurrying from class to class.
We cross a bridge with love locks along its sides. Most are relatively new, dating back to 2014 and 2015. There’s one from 2016 and some that look quite old. What happens when people’s relationships end? Do they come cut the lock from the bridge? Do they avoid the bridge to avoid the memories? Do they return later to pause and reflect fondly on the relationship that was? I’d be too scared to put a lock in a place like this in case it is like getting your partner’s name tattooed onto your skin.
Nearby there is a church that looks run down and ominous from the outside. But inside is this lovingly created toy display. It’s so fantastic. It is housed in the Chapel for the Deaf. Some of the toys are very old. It’s like taking a step back in time.